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How to Compost Your Flowers At Home

 

How to Compost Your Flowers

(Apartment friendly options!)

 

Even if you don’t own a big backyard (or a backyard at all), composting is still doable without creating a smelly corner in the kitchen that no one sits around anymore.

Composting was something that used to have a “hippie” stereotype and something that only benefited gardeners and those who grew their own food.

But with the boom of social media and the earnest learning of being as eco-friendly as possible, we’re now all taking a little more responsibility towards being more environmentally kind.

Now you might start asking yourself – “what does composting mean.”

First and foremost, compost is a mixture of “ingredients,” used to fertilize and enrich soil. Easy enough, right? We throw things away all day, err’day. Think kitchen scraps, wilty flowers, autumn leaves...natural things. These are things we can compost!

The act of composting is taking these things and allowing them to decompose; leaving you with nutrient-rich “gruel,” so to speak, which you add to your garden, flower pots, or backyard soil.

For those who live in condos, apartments and places without soil access, this is an eco-friendly option to help reduce household waste.

Take a peek at these 3 different (from least to most involved) options on which type of composting could benefit you best. 

You might wonder how you didn’t start this lifestyle sooner! 

 

1. Online Resources/ Countertop Composting

 

Ok, so composting seems doable but you have no soil access and have skimmed ahead and want NOTHING to do with worms (fair). We’ve got you!

With that aforementioned social media boom, more people were able to share their favorite tools, favorite brands, their overall tips, tricks and experiences...as well as their land! There are some websites that give us opportunities to utilize the yards of people who have the space and want the extra compost. All you have to do is collect your compost and deliver it.

Here are some other websites to check out to find a compost yard near you:

And a few other ways to get rid of your scraps locally:

  • Donate them to your local schools or community gardens
  • Join a local zero waste group on FB, where you can get local recommendations!
  • Live in the country? See if your neighbors or nearby farms could use it!

This version of composting allows you to do a little for Mother Earth without adding another giant project on your plate.

People who fall in this category will benefit most from “countertop composting,” where you’re able to contain your floral and kitchen scraps on the counter (or under the sink) until you’re able to drop them off.

  

2. So, you’ve got a little bit of space.

 

 

And you decided you have a bit more compost than what a “countertop compost” container usually holds.

Perhaps you’re part of our weekly Bucket of Blooms program, which inevitably creates some floral waste, or maybe you have a bigger family with picky eaters. Whatever the case, a composting Tumbler could benefit you!

“Compost tumblers are fully sealed to preserve the heat generated by your compost—thereby increasing the speed of decomposition,” writes Earth Easy.

Holding more compost, tumblers offer a sealed version that are best set up outdoors but can potentially decompose your household waste in as little as 2 weeks!

That’s right. 

For comparison, some plastic takes up to 500 years to decompose (like your everyday toothbrush- yikes!)

To be able to breakdown everyday waste and scraps in 2 weeks time is not only setting you up to be more environmentally friendly, but you’ll be setting yourself up for amazing compost to add to your plants and flowers to help them thrive.

Bonus trick: bananas in the house? Don’t throw those peels away! Take the peel and place it in water for a few days to create a potassium rich fertilizer for your plants and flowers. No need to dilute! After you're done, throw it in your compost bin as usual.

 

3. The Big One

 

 

You’ve got a backyard and you’re ready to dig in.

But where the heck do you even start?!

Know that this concept isn’t new; we’ve been composting since the Stone Age.

The good thing about this is any and every question you might have will have an answer. 

Like “do I need to introduce worms to do this successfully.”

“Do people still use manure?”

“How do I know if my soil is the right pH balance?”

"Do I have to use manure?"

While we won’t go through the entire process in this particular blog, know that the resources are out there, like these tried and true blogs:

 

 

And there we have it! Whether you have zero space to work with or have space out the wazoo, composting can be right for you!

Drop any comments below to let us know if this inspired you to start learning more.

Always keep blooming (and composting),

Amy

Why Intimate Weddings Are Staying For Good

 

Intimate Wedding Ideas with

The Hidden Garden

 

During both 2020 and 2021, the rules and regulations demanded the creativity and flexibility of every hopeful nuptial. But during these endeavouring years, it allowed them to figure out how to whittle down guest lists, create a timeline that allotted relaxation and ease, and slowed everyone down enough to truly celebrate their day; together.

So it should be no surprise to you, moving forward, how relevant intimate weddings stay.

Intimate wedding ideas may surprise both you and your spouse, just as it did for this groom, 

“It was a 2020 wedding with 18 people, unlike any wedding I had ever attended. The result though, was an incredibly intimate experience, at a single table, where every person was able to create a genuine memory with every other person there. It was magical."

Whether you choose a large scale wedding in the future or create an intimate wedding, take inspo from this gorgeously romantic wedding located in Santa Barbara, with florals from The Hidden Garden.

  

Taper candles outlined the floral centerpieces throughout the table. A tablescape small enough to fit on the terrace held the reception where guests were able to wind down the night, overlooking incredible views.

 

      

Our beautiful bride walked down a romantic vanilla swept aisle, carrying a bouquet of roses in ivory and pink, accented with fresh greenery. Lanterns adorned the isle with similar bouquets and rose petals sprinkled onto the ground. 
 
 

      

A breathtaking floral chuppah was created with an enchanted garden feel and the couple exchanged their vows under the ethereal ivory rose bunches.

 

                              

The couple and their closest family sat at a single table for their intimate wedding reception. Added candles gave a warm glow, twinkled lights suspended above and the florals (ivory, pink, and burgundy colors) created a beautiful setting on the terrace and the conversation was able to be had from end to end.
 
Although it may have been possible from another location, this private wedding affair was able to savor their reception looking over the views from the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara mountain outline due to the intimacy of their numbers.
 
If you didn't believe in small weddings before, we know you do now. Give The Hidden Garden a call to set up your intimate wedding consultation call today!

 

 

These talented wedding professionals made this event possible:

 

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree Like A Pro

 

How To Decorate A Christmas Tree Like A Pro- Hidden Garden Edition

 

Ahh, the Holidays. Transfiguring from “Autumnal Harvest” to “Jolly Christmas,” in under 24 hours (publically, that is).  And in the heart of that decor is our ever-loved yuletide evergreen tree. 

Want to learn how to professionally decorate your tree? Expert (and CEO) Amy Marella makes the learning curve 100% easier this year with her favorite tips and tricks from the Hidden Garden.

 

1. Create a Theme

In order to create a professionally decorated tree, you need to first and foremost choose a theme. A theme, whatever it may be, ties the entire tree together. Here are a few ideas to base it off of:

  • Color scheme
  • Personal ornament collection
  • Travel/ favorite hobbies.

Find inspiration from our hotel photos throughout this blog or (as always) check out our Pinterest for more ideas!

 (Hotel Bel-Air)

2. Start by Shaping

While this step takes almost no time at all, it helps establish a strong and lush looking tree. While your theme might require a more “wild” look, shaping your tree will also help sturdy out the thinner branches (especially at the bottom).

For those who have “forever trees,” (aka fake trees), you have more flexibility when it comes to maneuvering your branches...so take advantage of that!

 

3. Style with Ribbon

Finally, we can start decorating!

You can decorate a Christmas tree like a professional by using ribbons as decoration. We recommend using wired ones because they’re easier to style and shape.

We also tend to start with our ribbons, as some of our hotels like thick bows throughout their trees.

(Hotel Beverly Hills) 

 

4. Lights (Camera), Action!

We’re going to save you the frustration now: check that your lights work first! 

You’re welcome. 

Now that we’ve covered that, here are our top two light tricks:

  • Dependant on the tree, start your lights at the bottom of the tree and circle your way upwards

    OR

    • Start at the bottom and work your way up and down, weaving in and out of the branches.

      We like option #1 for thinner and taller trees while we save #2 for when we have a tree with more depth- so we don't lose our lights within the tree.

      Also, depending on the theme for your tree (or just personal preference), you are able to choose from warmer, cooler, or colored lights! We like to match our warmer lights with gold and red themes; cooler lights with our “wintery” looks (we skip colored lights but you live your best life).

       

      (Hotel Waldorf) 

       

      5. Ornaments

      Ornaments, no matter how perfectly curated, can look messy if you don’t approach it the right way. Here are a few suggestions to help them look their best:

      • Decorate in sections

      To decorate like a professional, take your Christmas tree in sections: top, middle, and bottom. Then, style them one at a time starting from the top and work your way down. 

      • Cluster ornaments

      Add flair to your display with ornament clusters (just like we talk about in our floral tutorial videos). For example, group ornaments of the same design together for a classic look. Otherwise, use different styles to add texture and depth. Amy also suggests combining different sizes for a bolder statement.

      • Strategically place ornaments

      At the end of the day, there are no actual rules to hanging ornaments. However, we tend to begin with larger ornaments and tuck them deeper within the foliage to add depth. When you try this method, you're able to achieve a beautiful, layered look. On the other hand, hanging smaller ornaments on the tips of the branches achieves a draping effect (it all comes back down to your theme).

       

      6. Mind the Gap...

      As a floral shop, our favorite way to fill in any gaps in our christmas trees is to fill it with seasonal flowers! Pick berries, flowers, or pinecones to bring a more natural feel to your tree (bonus points if it’s from your own yard). Reach out to the shop if you need any suggestions for florals to add in!

       

      (Hotel Waldorf) 

      BONUS: have smaller trees? Group them together (double or trio) to create a beautiful corner of light!

       

      7. Tree Topper

      Top off your design with a tree topper to compliment your theme. Custom toppers (ie bows, ribbons, etc) add fun personality to your tree but familial toppers are always our favorite to see!

       

      8. Tree Skirt

      To finalize this yuletide caroling, set the perfect backdrop for presents (and an easy clean-up method) with a tree skirt. These come in many materials, so choose one that...does what?? Yes, suits your theme! You've got it- we're so proud of you!

      Take these top techniques to help you create a professional Christmas tree, worthy of a compliment from St. Nicholas himself! Cheers and happy holidays to our entire floral community!

       

      (Hotel Bel-Air) 

       

      BONUS TIPS!

      Thought we'd leave you hanging? NO WAY! 

      The 5 most common ways to keep your tree fresh for longer.

      1. Trim the trunk before you put it in fresh water (all that sap inside is going to try and rescue the cut at the bottom which will prohibit the water from being soaked up). Please be cautious with your saws, friends. 

      2. Put the tree in water as soon as possible (just like in our Bloom Academy, we learn that everything needs a fresh cut to be able to get as much water as possible).

      3. Fresh water daily (you knew this one, of course).

      4. Be cautious of heat sources (aka don't place your tree next to a heater).

      5. Turn off the lights when leaving the room (similar to #4, we need to remember with all the extra electricity to be safe with how close our trees are to our ceiling lights). 

       

      Always Keep Blooming,

      Amy

       

       

       

       

       

      Top 6 Tips to Boost Your Hygge at Home

      How to Have More "Hygge” - The Danish Secret to Happiness

       

      First things first; what is Hygge?

       

      Hygge is a Danish/ Norwegian word (pronounced “hoo-ga”) that doesn’t have an exact translation but is often equated to “comfort,” “pleasurable moments,” a “feeling of cozy togetherness.” Hygge is about the atmosphere and experience, rather than a certain thing. It’s about looking into a room full of friends and family all laughing together than the $100 bottle of wine that was brought.

      With the winter season upon us, aka the sun setting at 4pm (*cries in Californian*), we find ourselves rallying in the house more, feeling restless but often bored and unsure of how we actually feel. Especially with the holidays nearing and an impending pressure to make sure we “get things done.” 

      The Scandinavians have created a culture of happiness (with Denmark, Norway, and Finland all landing in the “World's Happiest Country” ranking more than 5 times each) and we definitely have something to learn from them. 

      And while Danes are certainly not the only ones who can enjoy the atmosphere, comforts, and coziness of the hygge lifestyle, we can similarly (and easily) create a variety of the same ideals within our own homes.

      Have you started to ask yourself – “ok, how do I implement “hygge” into my life?”

      Take a look at these top 6 tips to boost your hygge at home and you’ll be as happy as a Dane in no time. 

       

      1. Light 

       

      Yes, you can already check one off your list! Look at you go! But keep reading...

      Having so little light in the winter can easily bring us. We’re not naturally nocturnal beings, and when we have to cram eight hours of daylight into a handful...well...it’s obviously just not doable (looking at you, rainy PNW neighbors). 

      So, how to bring in more “light,” and not spend hundreds on the electricity bill? 

      Turn off your overhead lights and bring out the candles (the Danes use unscented but we’re not here to judge)! Using warmer light instead of harsh overhead light automatically brings in a sense of “cozy.” Can’t burn candles where you live? Head to your local thrift store and grab a few lamps to strategically place around your place to create “accent light.”

      PS: the rule of thumb for bulbs: the lower the temperature of the light, the more hygge. And don’t forget to air out your room when done burning the candles!

       

      2. Togetherness

       

      Time spent with others creating a warm, inviting atmosphere for everyone to share in is very hygge.

      Being with other people is a key part of hygge. And what’s more traditional around the holidays than being with family? When you’re with “your people,” you’re able to share in experience together while still being able to be yourself. Relaxed. Happy. Confident. Safe.

      We are social creatures and continually building experiences together will help us stay energized and even help elevate our own sense of belonging. 

      Don’t have nearby family? Don’t forget, you are allowed to create your own family and friend groups who accept you and love you for who you are.

      This season, let go of the need for things to go a certain way, for the food to be perfect, for everyone to be on time, and just enjoy the moments as they're created.

       

      3. Nature

       

      You’ve probably heard of the design term “Scandinavian minimalism,” and if you haven’t, it’s exactly what it sounds like. No clutter. Clean. Sleek. And lots and lots of exposed wood.

      But wood is not enough for the Danes. With so much time spent inside during the winter months, they bring outside...in! With so much of their culture being rooted in naturalism, they decorate with the outdoors.

      Leaves, twigs, pine needles, dried berries, the list goes on!

      For us in LA, it’s a bit harder to scavenge your backyard for dried berries and pinecones.

      At The Hidden Garden we offer many types of naturally beautiful floral arrangements that are “hygge approved,” to display inside the home. For example, we’re about to create a Holiday Wreath, made up of noble fir greenery, pinecones, cinnamon sticks and more! If it can’t be a white christmas, might as well make it a green one!

      For those who aren’t local to LA, we offer our online video Holiday Collection that guides you through creating a professional hygge floral bouquet from home (includes floral recommendations with each video tutorial)!

       

       

      4. Presence 

       

      You’re probably aware of the benefits that come with giving ourselves a break from staring at our screens all day. But there have been many studies now about how being on our phones becomes more and more addictive and habit forming.

      The 5 most common benefits for your mental health that phone (or social media) breaks bring are:

      1. Decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression
      2. Reduced stress levels
      3. Better sleep
      4. Strengthened memory
      5. Increased self-confidence 

      Of course, when you work Monday to Friday and get paid to stare at a screen 9-5, it’s hard to justify giving yourself screen-free time.

      Not everyone struggles with this, however, the benefits outweigh the time invested on your phone.

      Consider this- if you put your phone down for an entire day, what hobby (you know, the one that you’ve wanted to get back into for a while now) would you start? Why can’t you start now?

      Start small. Set timers for yourself or for certain apps on your phone so that you don’t mindlessly scroll through your lunch break. Pick up a book, go for a walk, or listen to a podcast while you eat your lunch.

       

       

      5. Blankets and Cushions

       

      As cheesy as it sounds, blankets and cushions are must-haves. To curl up with a blanket (even if you’re not cold) to get cozy is very hyggeligt (hygge-like). Spending time on an activity you enjoy can boost your mental health and wellbeing. 

      As far as cushions, they might be reserved for the floor sitters, aka the ones who can’t get close enough to the fireplace. Large or small cushions are essential to comfort and here.

      At the end of the day, hygge, cozy, comfort (whatever you want to call it), is about taking your responsible, burnt out/ overworked adult and giving them a break. To be relaxed; just for a little bit. It’s about experiencing happiness through simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be ok.

       

       

      6. Food and Drink

       

      Hygge is a beautiful reminder to slow down but also about being kind to yourself; especially around food during the holidays.

      Gone are the days of investing in juice cleanses so you can eat your holiday meals guilt-free. That is not hygge. Sweets are hygge. Coffee cake and hot chocolate are hygge. Carrot sticks? Not so much. 

      “Something sinful is an integral component of the hygge ritual. But it should not be something fancy or extravagant.” writes Meik Wiking (CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen)

      If a CEO of a HAPPINESS RESEARCH is telling us that we need to focus more on comfort food, then we should listen. A vegetable stew is hygge. Popcorn and warm drinks is (preferably with friends around a fire or with a blanket and your favorite book). Baking pastries is. The more rustic it is, the more hygge! Are we getting it now?

      Hygge is about happiness and finding happiness in the small moments.

      “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy cake, and that is almost the same thing…”

      Here is a Norwegian mulled wine recipe from The Little Book of Hygge (because no December is complete without warm drinks) to help you stay cozy during these next few months:

      Gløgg

      Serves 6-10. Cooking time 20 minutes (plus soaking time for raisins)

       

      For the gløgg essence:

      4 handfuls of raisins

      10 ounces port

      1 bottle of heavy red wine* (*don’t go for the cheapest ones, but there is no need to spend all your savings for mulled wine either)

      1 cup brown sugar (preferably a brown sugar that consists of sugar crystals and cane syrup- but a normal brown sugar will do)

      20g cinnamon sticks (8-10 sticks)

      20g allspice (whole)

      20g cloves (whole)

      10g cardamom (whole)

       

      For the gløgg:

       2 bottles of heavy red wine

      ¾ cup brown rum

      ¾ cup akvavit (or vodka)

      Peel of 1 orange

      ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

      1 cup chopped almonds

      -----

      1. Soak the raisins in the port, preferably for 24 hours.
      2. Start by making the gløgg essence. Pour the bottle of red wine into a pot, add the sugar  and cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cardamom, and heat to just below boiling point. Turn off the heat and allow to cool, then strain out the aromatics.
      3. Add the additional bottles of red wine, spirits, orange peel and juice to the gløgg essence. Again, heat to just below boiling point, and then add the raisins, port and the almonds. Serve warm.

       

      There you have it! The Hidden Garden's take on the Danish lifestyle of "hygge."

      The Hidden Garden is here to help you boost your hygge at home. So take these 6 tips into consideration while you start to decorate, plan your holiday festivities, invite your family and friends over! Remember to do as the Scandinavians do and enjoy the simple things in life

      Skål!

       

       

       

       

       

       

      5 Easy Tips on Caring for Fresh Peonies

       

      5 Easy Tips on Caring for Fresh Peonies

       

      You're probably thinking, "Wait, didn't we already go through peony season?" And you'd be right! We absolutely did. However, the Hidden Garden just got a shipment of New Zealand coral peonies in (because across the ocean, it's in season)!

      Just like regular peony season, this will also be a short season and we want to take full advantage of the last bit of beautiful, bright colors. Now is a fantastic time for a refresher on peonies and how to best care for them after they've been cut.

       

       

      1. First and most importantly, always clean up your stems before inserting into your vase.

       

      Something we teach in the Bloom Academy is to always clean off the extra leaves, stems, etc before putting your florals into the water. This will mitigate any bacteria breeding that happens when those are left to wilt in the water! Trust us on this one.

      2. When adding water into your vase, use room temperature water.

       

      If you use hot water, you'll risk destroying the stem tissue of your flowers, which causes bacterial growth. Even worse, heat typically causes flowers to shed their petals more quickly! What a bummer that would be!

       

       

      3. If you have flower food, USE IT!

       

      Clutch onto your Traders Joe's recipe, because here's a fun fact you'll need later: flower food does NOT help flowers grow! Weird that it's been marketed that way, right? Flower food helps create a space that is free of bacteria, which helps it bloom in a more natural, wholesome way. Read the directions carefully and don't use it all in one vase...you'll want to use about half and when you refresh your water, use the rest!

      Bonus tip!

       

      If you don't have the time to go grab flower food for your arrangement, use a drop of bleach to replace it. This will keep your vase clean and help your flowers stay happy! Just a drop, though!

       

      4. Always give your florals a fresh cut.

       

      What's this mean exactly? So you've prepped your room temp water and have your bleach/flower food mixed into the water and you're ready to get designing! Your next step will be to give each flower stem a fresh cut at the end before inserting into your vase so you're setting up your stem for the best absorption possible. Need to rearrange something and have to take out a stem or two? No worries!! Simply figure out it's new placement, give it another small and quick cut and put it in it's new place. 

       

       

       5. Keep your Peonies on the Chill Side

       

      Like most fresh flowers, stashing them in the fridge or outside at night is a guaranteed way to help them last longer. But you can take the trick a step further. Try cutting fresh peony buds while they're soft, wrapping them in newspaper, and storing them in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. They won't open up in the fridge, but you can preserve them for an extra day or two if you need them to last.

      If you need the opposite and want your peonies to open up faster, take the opposite advise of #2. Using warm (not hot!) water, add in your freshly cut peonies and place in direct sunlight. If you follow this step, be sure to keep an eye on them! This is very important, so you don't miss any potential wilting. Once they start opening, follow the instructions as usual!

       

      With our advice, you can hold off droopy flowers for as long as an extra week! Each of these five tips should extend the lives of your cut peonies for you to enjoy, so make sure to implement them before your next purchase!

       

       

      Always Keep Blooming,

      Amy

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